Natalie Clay – Winner of the 2017 Elton Prize

Elton-Prize2017-1523455447640 We are delighted to announce that Natalie Clay has been awarded the 2017 Elton Prize for her paper:  Towards a geography of omnivory: Omnivores increase carnivory when sodium is limiting.

Natalie Clay obtained her PhD from the University of Oklahoma in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program in 2013 under the direction of Michael Kaspari. Her dissertation research examined the relationship between nutrient inputs like sodium on the structure and function of detrital communities, including trophic ecology. Dr Clay is currently an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Louisiana Tech University.

The Elton Prize is awarded bt the British Ecological Society each year for the best paper in Journal of Animal Ecology written by an early career author at the start of their research career and is named in honour of Charles Elton, the first Editor of the journal.

When announcing the award Senior Editor Nate Sanders was excited to see the parallels between the work by  Charles Elton and Natalie Clay:

“Charles Elton led the way in conceptualizing ecological pyramids as a way to describe how feeding relationships are structured in ecological communities. Since his pioneering work more than ninety years ago, animal ecologists have made great theoretical and empirical strides in documenting both the structure and dynamics of feeding relationships (e.g., food webs, food chains, etc.) among organisms. Beginning about 30 years ago, a growing number of ecologists began to explore the consequences of omnivory – feeding on both plants and animals – on food web structure. So, while we know more about the consequences of omnivory, does omnivory vary geographically, and if so, why? Cue Dr. Natalie Clay”

Find out more about the work of Charles Elton in the recent blog post by Charley Krebs “Population Cycles: Historical Notes from the Bureau of Animal Population to 2018“.

Clay NA, Lehrter RJ, Kaspari M. (2017) Towards a geography of omnivory: Omnivores increase carnivory when sodium is limiting. J Anim Ecol. 86:1523–1531.

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